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Kimberling Area Library

Following a county-wide election in which voters turned down a proposal to open a county library branch in Kimberling City, a group of local citizens called a community meeting in March 1990, to assess public interest in an area library. At the meeting it became apparent the community wanted and would support its own library and the research committee was approved as a board of directors. The City of Kimberling City donated space in the basement of the community building to house the library.  Individuals and businesses donated time, money, books and material to furnish the room. The library opened in July 1990 with about 1,000 donated books, many of them paperbacks. That first year we had 2,140 visitors who checked out 3,818 items.

The Kimberling Area Library Association was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization under the laws of Missouri with a state charter issued 27 March 1990. It is a tax-exempt organization as specified in Sec. 509 (a)(1) as outlined in a letter from the Internal Revenue Service dated 7 October 1994.  It is governed by a nine-member board of directors elected by the Association at its annual meeting in May and serving staggered three-year terms.

The library is financed entirely by donations, grants, fund raisers and memberships in the Kimberling Area Library Association.  The Kimberling Area Library receives no direct tax support from city, county or state. It is staffed entirely by volunteers and has no paid employees.


By the fall of 1991, the rapid growth of the library in both holdings and patrons forced consideration of new quarters. In November 1991, the board of directors approved an American Legion proposal to construct a library building as an addition to the new Legion building under construction in Kimberling City.

A community-wide fund-raising drive took place and work on the new building started in June 1992. By October the building was ready and the library moved into its new 3,000 square foot facility at 45 Kimberling Boulevard in Kimberling City. Charles and Bette Wilcox made a generous contribution to start the project and then gave funds to pay off the indebtedness so that the building was debt-free by Jan. 1, 1993. The new building was dedicated to Patti Wilcox Dusel on Dec. 5, 1992.

By the spring of 1995, circulation had doubled and patronage had tripled. Holdings increased from 2,500 hardback books to more than 8,500 volumes. and the library had increased its community outreach programs. In light of these factors and the increasing work load of library staff in cramped quarters, the board of directors approved a plan to double the size of the library with an addition to the south of the existing building.

Ground breaking ceremonies were held in July 1995 and dedication of the building addition was held March 2, 1996. And again, in addition to a substantial initial contribution, Charles and Bette Wilcox contributed funds to pay off the building debt.

The library building was constructed on land owned by American Legion Post 637 and leased by the library for 99 years. On October 22, 2001, after prolonged negotiation, the library purchased the land on which it sits, plus the parking lot in front, land to the south to the lot line and some land to the rear of the building.

In 2001 KAL occupied its own 6,300 sq. ft. building on its own land, all debt free. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2005, the library housed over 23,500 items and 34,453 visitors passed through the doors to check out 43,962 items.

By 2005, it became apparent that the library again needed more room to serve an ever-growing community. Several ideas were advanced to help resolve the problem, but in February 2006, Charles and Bette Wilcox again stepped in with a magnificent gift-- two notes totaling $490,000 on the American Legion land and building. After lengthy dialogue, the library in effect traded the notes to Table Rock Post 637, American Legion, for title to the entire building and surrounding parking lots, playground and land.

The Library board of directors then decided to expand into the upper level of the building while renting the lower level to the American Legion. A building committee was appointed and drew up plans which called for a complete revamping of the upper level of the former American Legion building, more than doubling the space of the Library. The Library board of directors approved the plans and remodeling work began in November 2006.

Move to the new space was completed in January 2007 with the help of a small army of volunteers. The new Library opened to the public on Monday, January 29th. Official dedication ceremonies were held Saturday, April 21, 2007, when the building was officially named "The Wilcox Family Building" and the expanded Library was rededicated to Patty Wilcox Dusel.

The new library area, some 13,000 square feet, provides increased space for housing books and audio holdings, expanded work space, additional Internet computer stations, children's area and cozy reading areas as well as community meeting rooms. And the building and land are completely debt-free.

kal history